Manners & Misdemeanors
Dear Truly Rich Lady: Should I Tell My Friend She's Had Too Much Plastic Surgery?
On botched procedures, waiting room behavior, and things to consider before going under the knife yourself.
ILLUSTRATOR Alysse Asilo
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Do you want to ask our resident TRL a question? E-mail C.C. Coo at [email protected].  

With prodding from my best frenemy, Jemima, I have promised to say yes to everything. And this is why lately I have found myself in many delightful situations such as adopting a Russian Blue kitten, wearing outrageous heels, and eating at this wonderful place that is like an outdoor seafood market. Let’s see how this experiment goes in this week’s round of questions.

Dear Truly Rich Lady,

Plastic surgery? Yay or nay?

Yay. Long ago, I made a pact with myself that I will be buried in a vintage Yves Saint-Laurent Zemire dress with my favorite parure of yellow gemstones (that will promptly be removed before I rejoin the earth because I am practical) and a thoughtful smile on my original face. The first two I have in my closet. That last bit I realize is a foolish concern.

I know now that elective surgery is another form of self-improvement. Once, when looking into a mirror (and I am not one to stare into a reflective surface until I grow roots), I noticed tiny crinkles around my eyes. I know this is called Having A Face That Moves, which is also known as Being Human, but the spiderwebs bother me like the brown spot on my favorite table cloth. I see it when I look.  

And then I noticed friends who, even if they are the same age as myself and also proud members of the Human Beings With Faces That Move, did not have these crinkles. In fact, they looked as full as flowers. Upon my incessant prodding (which washed away all talk of “smiling always,” “eating good food,” and “soap and water” as reasons), they revealed that, yes, it was the slice of a knife, the point of an injection, or the magic beams of a machine that led to their tastefully youthful faces.

I want to improve, too.  

Dear Truly Rich Lady,

Is there such a thing as tasteful plastic surgery?

Of course. The barometer of good work is when you appear refreshed as if you have just disembarked from a three-week cruise or awoken from a very long slumber. The ability to emote through your face as well as and looking like yourself are also required. The greetings you receive post-work will be the litmus test. You want people to go: “You look positively glowing!” Or, “Is your suitor back in town?” And not: “Your new chin is awesome.” When someone compliments the quality of your doctor’s work, then you have crossed the line.

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Dear Truly Rich Lady,

Can I tell my best girlfriend that she looks like the Before Photo in one of those Plastic Surgeries Gone Too Far shows?

Uh-huh. But only in the kindest manner. Even if you are the closest of friends, it will never do well to declare that her self-improvement, the one that she spent a small fortune on and endured a large amount of pain for, looks like what happened when your cook accidentally pokes the yolk on your sunny side up eggs. Be very, very gentle by saying, “Hey Jemima, please stop.” This is the only way to be kind. When the unvarnished truth about her yolk-y face is unleashed from a true friend’s lips (yours), it will jolt her back to sanity. Then, offer the number of an excellent cosmetic surgeon (yours) and also a home (yours) as a place for recuperation after the corrective surgery.

 

Dear Truly Rich Lady,

Is it proper to talk to people in the waiting room of a surgeon? I would like to be polite, but I am nervous that they will tell on me.

I am compelled to say, “yes,” even if good manners dictate never to discuss medical procedures with anyone. In my experience, people in the lobby of excellent clinics often have enough sense to just mind their own business. It also helps that I usually wear a scarf around my head, overlarge sunglasses around my eyes, and a fake mustache (for good measure) as a disguise.

But if someone like, say, Jemima, the Tattle Tale, recognizes you, disarm the woman by reminding her of your common situation. Compliment her full Cs (the popular size for American women, I hear) and then say you are meeting Common Friend after your consultation. How delighted Common Friend will be to receive news about Jemima after her weeks of mysterious absence. If Jemima remains brazen, letting you know she has already told everyone about her enhancement and then offering a feel of the new goods, you will have no other choice but to say, “yes.” You will be friends after this.

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